Waterway

It was interesting to note the different forms of passage toward and around the Abel Tasman National Park. The endless docking and loading of tourists of the ferry boats, the kayaks bobbing up and down in plastic rafts to the multi million dollar mega yacht owed by a billionaire German industrialist. All trying to savour the stunning surroundings.

The Beautiful Maid

Looking down over the landscape of the National Park, over toward the pointed peak of Mount Ngauruhoe reminded me of my childhood. Climbing these mountains and experiencing the awe of this part of the world. 

Porky and the Prison

On the rainy journey toward the mountains we noticed a series of buildings set just off the side of the road. On the fence was stapled a sign explaining that the site was dangerous due to contamination, which I later found out was asbestos. I pulled over and investigated further. A few steps into the compound with my camera and tripod in hand, I heard a yell from a small house to the left. 

Porky had been living on the grounds for the past 6 years, fighting the government for the land which he believes to be his peoples ancestral home.

An ex low grade prison, the buildings had fallen into disrepair, rot and grass growing up the sides. It was reminder of each of the structures past. Porky explaining its history and its importance to him and his cause.

 

Volcano

In the distance a cloud of smoke rises from the horizon. It blends into the sky, making the land mass difficult to distinguish. Its not a dramatic thing to do. Lots of people visit White Island every year. However, this does not remove the tense feeling that I would guess most people were feeling the boat. We are about to land on a live volcano. One that is at an instant ready to show its fury and power. Apparently only recently has it exploded. Rest assured "its only rocks and ash that rise from the crater, not lava".

The sulphur landscape is rugged and harsh. Alien like with its contrasting edges. The mountains torn and hostile. The gasses spread throughout the space, enclosing us with air that makes us all cough and itch. The back of my throat scratches, the heat from the ground rises through into my feet. I feel completely unwelcome, like the island rejects us.   

I loved this place.   

6.48am

A sneaky visit to the beach at 6.48am. Before our trip that was booked for White Island. This is what greeted me. Impeccable, glowing red sun hitting the calm waters of Ohope. I just couldn't resist it.

In Both Directions

This beach was just a stop over. A cake break on our way to Ohope. I remember the deeply sloping sand and the wild foaming water. And we were alone again on an extensive stretch of coastline. 

Surfers & Darkness

Leaving the room that was perched on the edge of the beach, we strolled down to the waters edge. It was pitch black. All that was audible were the crashing waves. One white line in the darkness after the other as the surf approached. Our eyes adjusted, but it didn't remove the loneliness of the experience. It was something about the invisible nature and our vulnerability. 

Dion

I met Dion in a man made natural spring pool. He was just sitting there. Apparently for hours. His hands had withered like a soft sponge, discoloured by the length of time in the hot water.  I liked his face and started to talk to him. After his wife died, the 45 minute drive from his home to the pool was a relatively frequent event. When he had time off work. 

I left him there in the water. In the corner watching the people pass by. Come and go like us.

Peter and the Mountain

As a dense cloud of rain lowered down on us in Coromandel, I took a drive up into the mountains. No specific direction or destination. The gravel road was very winding and at times seemed to have collapsed. Very tight corners and steep turns, I worked my way up toward the top. Stopping every now and then to take pictures. The thick jungle followed me - so thick it seemed impenetrable. Mosquitos buzzed and attacked. 

Once I had reached the summit and jumped out of the car to take a look. From the silent road I saw a man, who I later learnt was Peter, on a bicycle climbing. It felt quite a surreal encounter. The timing of it. We both were on a different journey, both reaching the top of this mountain at the same time.

I hope for more of these mountain encounters.

 

Gold

What a fantastic disused gold mine. Cut up the land with beautiful golden red yellow clay. The size only distinguishable by noticing the small house at the top. Cliffs and layers falling into the pit. The bottom that I could not see. I have visited these types of mines before and of course seen them online. Nevertheless, in reality they are always impressive to me. What we can do, and do do to nature. The search for profit. The extremes. It always makes me want to visit more.

In Hot Water

What a strange sight. The gathering of burnt flesh. All with spades in their hands or lying in their own pools of sand. People mingling in a group meeting, savouring the hot spring water that trickles down from the surrounding mountains. All in a collected space roughly 50 meters across the width of the long beach. 

The waves were crashing against the outcrop of rocks and warning signs describing the dangerous sea currents. 

Our first pools were disappointedly cold. Once we mastered the hunt for the pre-dug hot holes, we spread out and lay down. 

A surprisedly wonderful day. I am normally a little on the sceptical side when it comes to these types of 'destinations'. Hot Water Beach proved me wrong.